The Department of Health (DOH), through its Metro Manila Center for Health Development (CHD), in close coordination with local government units (LGU) successfully inoculated over 137,701 infants in the National Capital Region (NCR) as part of the DOH’s “Vax-Baby-Vax” campaign. The said campaign is a 10-day catch-up immunization campaign launched last November 7 to protect infants 0-12 months of age in the NCR against vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, hepatitis B, and human papilloma virus (HPV).

With only an original total target of 137,000 infants in the region, the DOH exceeded its target after inoculating an additional 701 infants, bringing the total coverage rate to 100.48%. The DOH likewise recognized the top three (3) performing cities with the highest coverage rates relative to their respective target populations: Manila City with 28,073 or 130%; Quezon City with 23,732 or 129%; and Paranaque City with 10,803 or 122%.

“We are very proud of this achievement not because we exceeded our target, but because having done so means that we were successful in protecting our children against debilitating but easily-preventable diseases ,” Health OIC Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

The DOH launched the Vax-Baby-Vax campaign to increase immunization coverage in the region, especially for infants who missed their routine immunization due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore remain vulnerable to VPDs. Moreover, according to the latest available data on immunization coverage, around 1.4 million Filipino children born during the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to receive a single vaccine dose.

“We all know how the pandemic affected us. Due to mobility restrictions and other exacerbating factors, marami sa ating mga anak ang hindi nabigyan ng karampatang bakuna na poprotekta dapat sa kanila laban sa iba’t ibang mga sakit. Ang paalala lamang po natin sa ating mga magulang: hindi pa huli ang lahat para pabakunahan ang ating mga anak. Huwag na po nating hintayin na magkasakit sila at magsisi tayo, ngayon pa lang ay ibigay na natin sa kanila ang proteksyon na kailangan nila upang mabigyan natin sila ng malusog at matiwasay na buhay habang sila ay tumatanda,” the DOH OIC appealed.

In celebrating this success, the DOH recognized the efforts of LGUs, partners, and other stakeholders who played important roles in the rollout of the campaign. Furthermore, the DOH committed that it will strive to achieve the same, or even better results, in other areas, considering the relatively low immunization coverage in other regions of the country as well.

“This is not just the success of the DOH alone; this is also the success of our LGUs, our development partners, our healthcare workers, our parents, and all other stakeholders who offered their relentless support in this difficult endeavor. This milestone is clear proof that if we work together, we can achieve and even exceed our set targets. Nagawa natin ito sa Metro Manila, gagawin din natin ito sa ibang mga rehiyon. With your continued commitment, rest assured that the DOH and our LGUs will stop at nothing to reach every Filipino child, no matter where they are in the country, and safeguard their future by affording them the protection that vaccines continue to provide,” expressed the OIC Health Chief.